ELECTIONS 'O8: Lib-Dems ready for new era

SHEFFIELD was waking up to a new era this morning – with the Liberal Democrats in charge at the Town Hall.

The party's national leader, Nick Clegg MP, told The Star the Lib Dems would run Sheffield in a "more open and honest way" as members celebrated a sweeping council election victory.

With victorious Sheffield Lib Dem leader Coun Paul Scriven beside him, Mr Clegg said the city had been "taken for granted by Labour for far too long".

Mr Clegg promised Sheffield residents could look forward to a greener, safer city and added council tax would only be increased if absolutely necessary.

"There is going to be a real emphasis on making this the great green city we know it can be, and we will be working with the police and other agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime," he said.

Coun Scriven said he felt "humbled and honoured" by the scale of his party's victory in the local elections.

His party swept to power, taking all but one of its seven target seats, to gain control of the city council with a majority of six.

Labour lost five wards after its support crumbled, while the Conservatives were wiped out for the first time ever, losing their sole seat in Dore and Totley to the Lib Dems.

The Green Party had mixed results after winning a third seat in Central ward but losing the balance of power which it has held over the last year.

All parties predicted the result would be close – potentially resulting in no party having overall control for a second year running, and the third year this decade.

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But Coun Scriven, who retained his Broomhill seat with a majority of almost 600, said: "I am absolutely delighted the people of Sheffield have put their faith and trust in the Liberal Democrats.

"We thought we would gain a number of seats but I didn't feel so many of our targets would return a Lib Dem councillor.

"We feel humbled and honoured to be given such a majority. We are now determined to focus the council towards listening to people's concerns."

Sheffield's was the biggest city council to be seized by the Liberal Democrats nationally, whose other gains were Hull, Burnley and St Albans.

Sheffield – which will not have local elections for another two years – bucked the trend for poor turnout, which averaged at 35 per cent nationally. In nine of the city's 28 wards, more than 40 per cent of the electorate went to the polls. The highest figure was 56 per cent in Dore and Totley.



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